Saturday, 20 June 2009

A Portrait.

Being a total film photography fanatic, I couldn't resist this:

I'm currently in Santander. Enjoying the place very much. Went out to complete a painting commission today - a view of one of the fabulous beaches here, when I found some old guy in a small park with what initially looked like an old plate camera. Wish I had taken some pictures, but the photo I have to post here is the portrait he took. I was carrying as much as I could to complete a very large oil painting.

Turns out this guy has been taking 'instant' portraits for almost 70 years. The 'camera' has to be one of the Worlds first ever instant processing labs/camera/copy camera!

Large box on tripod with bucket of water dangling below. If I'm still here next weekend I'll take some photographs, but in the meantime try to imagine...

Stage 1. Load camera with small sheet of paper.

2. Take photograph. No shutter. The guy sells 2 for the price of 1. The first being the test strip. A brief removal of lens cap.

3. Open small infrared skylight on top of camera/lab/box with lens.

4. Develop negative print.

5. Fix print in small tank that conveniently drops out of box into daylight for viewing.

6. Wash print in bucket of water dangling below tripod.

7. Extend camera/box/darkroom belows to transform into copy camera.

8. No shutter again. Briefly remove lens cap to take photograph of negative print.

9. Open infrared skylight and devlop print.

10. Drop into samll fix tank and remove from camera to view in daylight.

11. Repeat with adjustments for contrast etc.

12. Drop prints into bucket of water to wash.

13. Dry with tea towell.

14. Polish dry with thumbs.

Really nice old guy. Very little business, but I suspect the 'nostalgia' factor, 'retro' appeal will keep him busy. After watching me have my portrait taken, a group of teenagers quickly formed a queue. €10 for 2 retro cool B&W photos.

Proper Old Skool beach portrait of me.

Love Santander. But, this has been the highlight so far.


Anonymous said...

Huge respect for rekindling some of those lost skills of the photographic old world...
Funnily enough, i'm on a photographic assignment myself (commercial work it has to be said) retracing some of you steps in 2008: Cordoba, Caceres, Plasencia, Ávila, Toledo.....Bloody ridiculously hot but enjoying some good Riberas del Guadiano you mentioned in your blog.

Good luck and keep writing!!

The Lost Photographer said...

I was going to reply to this earlier with a "it's a very pleasant 28 degrees with a fresh sea breeze" sort of post, but thought you might think I was taking the piss, so...

It's a very pleasant 28 degrees with a fresh sea breeze.


I'm off the booze still. Remember a bar in the Plaza Major in Caceres that had the best house Crianza I've ever tried. Guadianos and Toros remain my favourite Spanish reds.